Tupelo Honey hosts fundraiser for local boy with brain tumor

Tupelo Honey's South Asheville location hosts a benefit for Holmes (left) on Thursday, March 24. Also pictured is Holmes' younger brother, Vincent. Photo courtesy of Ashley Gilroy

Holmes Desmelick is like most boys his age. He loves hanging out with his friends, playing sports and generally staying active. However, Holmes was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in June 2014, and that has caused the 6-year-old to miss out on many of the things his friends get to do.

Clare Desmelick, Holmes’ mother, says that, due to the tumor’s location, they haven’t found a doctor willing to operate, so Holmes is currently undergoing chemotherapy. That treatment causes him to stay home for days at a time due to its compromising effect on his immune system. Clare says despite being temporarily sidelined from time to time, Holmes remains upbeat. “He’s doing as well as one could hope for. Kids are really resilient. He doesn’t like to miss a beat, but unfortunately he has to, due to hospital visits.”

Holmes has already undergone two surgeries and, while the tumor is inoperable, Clare says her family remains hopeful. “With science and technology, we’re kind of holding out for a miracle to create some kind of other immunotherapy or something other than radiation. We want to hold off on radiation as long as possible to let his brain develop.”

She adds that despite the constant medical appointments and treatments, he’s difficult to slow down. “Being sick, he still wants to keep up with everybody. He loves sports. He’s constantly playing team sports. He’s got a big ol’ heart and he’s optimistic.”

That optimism caught the attention of Ashley Gilroy, a manager at Tupelo Honey’s South Asheville location. Gilroy says Holmes’ story hits home. “I had a family friend who passed away recently from something similar, so I wanted to reach out to the family and see if we could do a fundraiser for them.”

To that end, on Thursday, March 24, 10 percent of sales from Tupelo Honey’s South Asheville location will go to the Desmelick family. Gilroy says there will also be the option to donate more money when guests pay for their meal. And for those who can’t attend the fundraiser, they can donate online. “I’m so excited to help this family. It makes me teary-eyed. It hits my heart. It’s so sad that this has happened and is going on for them. They are the nicest, most genuine, humble people. So I’m glad we’re able to do something.”

Clare says it’s been hard for her to find time to work lately because of the number of medical appointments Holmes has. She says the fundraising is tremendously helpful. “We don’t have to stress so much about medical bills because the community has come forward and helped us out. You have no idea how much love there is until something like this happens. It has been dumbfounding to us how awesome people are.”

10 percent of Tupelo Honey’s South Asheville location will go to the Desmelick family on Thursday, March 24. To make reservations visit tupelohoneycafe.com/reservations/

For more information about Tupelo Honey’s fundraiser visit tupelohoneycafe.com/desmelik/

For more information about Holmes Desmelick visit facebook.com/groups/holmesteam/

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About Dan Hesse
I grew up outside of Atlanta and moved to WNC in 2001 to attend Montreat College. After college, I worked at NewsRadio 570 WWNC as an anchor/reporter and covered Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners starting in 2004. During that time I also completed WCU's Master of Public Administration program. You can reach me at dhesse@mountainx.com.

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